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Was Mark Twain Jewish?

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Topic: Twain, Mark, Jewish?

Naranda Davina from Ontario wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Is Mark Twain Jewish?

Dear Naranda Davina,

Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was not Jewish. However he had this to say about the Jews:

"The Jews constitute but 1% of the human race ... It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of... His contributions to the world's list of great names are away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose... the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone...The Jew saw them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no dulling of his alert mind. All things are mortal but the Jew... What is the secret of his immortality?"


  • Mark Twain (1835-1910) excerpt from An Essay Concerning the Jews

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